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Opinion: Goodluck Jonathan and his loads of unfinished business

The panel which submitted its report to Jonathan on April 16, 2012 had recommended the reduction of the existing 263 government’s statutory agencies in the country to 161. The committee recommended the abolition of 38 agencies, merger of 52 and reversion of 14 agencies to departments in the relevant ministries.

Oronsaye said if the committee’s report was adopted and agencies reduced in accordance with the recommendation, government would be saving over N862bn between 2012 and 2015.

For instance, it recommended the scrapping of both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, saying the two key anti-corruption agencies were performing the functions of the Nigeria Police Force. It also recommended that the Federal Road Safety Corps should not be in existence in its current form. It said although the FRSC had been quite active, what the body was set up to do was a replication of the mandates of two existing bodies: the Highway Department of the Ministry of Works with respect to the maintenance of safety and orderliness on highways and the role of the Nigeria Police in ensuring law and order on the roads.

Let me therefore advise that in case you have any reason to visit the seat of power between now and January 15, 2014, you better come with your emblem or be ready to buy one at the gate.

Operation show me your emblem

This post is published with permission from Abusidiqu.com

Upon receipt of the report, Jonathan set up a 10-member White Paper Drafting Committee led by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke. Till date, no formal pronouncement has been made on the matter, making it Mr. President’s second carry-over.

President Jonathan on Monday led other dignitaries including former heads of government and leadership of the National Assembly to launch the 2014 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem. The emblem is launched and worn by Nigerians every year to raise money for the families of the nation’s fallen heroes and war veterans. At this year’s event, about N105m was realised instantly for the Nigerian Legion.

Although Jonathan had confirmed that the panel had since submitted its report to him, he has not deemed it fit to tell Nigerians (the same way he made the establishment of the committee public) whether the minister was indicted or not.

Also at the Villa were members of the Senator Femi Okurounmu-led Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Dialogue who came to submit their report to the President.

“I will like to encourage all Nigerians to procure and wear these emblems with pride throughout this period. In fact, for those who have the opportunity to have interaction with me within this period, if you do not wear it, please do not feel embarrassed if they turn you back. It will be a requirement for all our staff and visitors to wear the emblem to gain access to all government establishments. I personally will put on the emblem from today till the end of the remembrance period, that is, January 15 next year,” the President said.

Those who thought Jonathan was joking got the shock of their lives on Wednesday before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting as security details were directed to turn back any person not wearing the emblem.

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by Olalekan Adetayo

Another area of carry-over for Jonathan is the much-expected implementation of the report of the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies chaired by a former Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye.

In order to ensure that as many Nigerians as possible wear the emblem and donate to the Nigerian Legion, the President said he would not grant audience to any person who is not wearing the emblem between the day it was launched and January 15, 2014 when activities marking the remembrance would be rounded off. He added that the emblem would be a requirement for government officials and visitors to gain access to any government establishment nationwide during the period.

As if those are not enough, the President recently added to the burden with which he will be crossing over into the New Year his refusal to clearly tell Nigerians where he stands on the N255m  BMW bulletproof cars reportedly bought for the Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

president-goodluck-jonathan09836All these persons were forced to wear the emblem before gaining access into the Council Chambers venue of the events. Some workers in the Villa were seen selling the emblems to those who were desperate to go inside. Journalists were not spared as yours sincerely had to part with some naira notes to get one in order to enter and get stories for you.

For President Goodluck Jonathan, barring any last minute drastic decisions, he will be ending the year with loads of unfinished businesses. One of such is the inability of the President to fill the vacancies in his cabinet. He had in September sacked nine ministers, bringing the number of vacant positions in the cabinet to 11 having earlier sacked the erstwhile Minister of Defence, Dr. Haliru Bello; as well as the Minister of Youths Development, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir. The positions of Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters as well as Special Adviser on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development are also currently vacant. In this area, there may likely be a carry-over for Mr. President.

All these persons were forced to wear the emblem before gaining access into the Council Chambers venue of the events. Some workers in the Villa were seen selling the emblems to those who were desperate to go inside. Journalists were not spared as yours sincerely had to part with some naira notes to get one in order to enter and get stories for you.

As the year winds down, it is obvious that “there will be no carry over” is not a prayer that the President can pray!

Following public outcry that trailed that purchase, Jonathan inaugurated a three-man presidential panel to investigate the matter. A former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello, chaired the panel which had the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), and Air Vice Marshal Dick Iruenebere (retd.) as members.

Today is the last but one Saturday in 2013. In religious centres, many slogans will be flying in the air to indicate the desire of the faithful not to enter the New Year with carry-overs of what they should have achieved in the outgoing year. Adherents would be invited to crusades with different catchy themes such as “there will be no carry over” and “my last minute blessing, a must,” among others.

Interestingly, there were numerous visitors at the Villa that day. Before the commencement of the FEC meeting, the President swore in four new permanent secretaries and one member of the Federal Civil Service Commission. The new government officials came with friends and family members.

On November 5, the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North chaired by the Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Taminu Turaki (SAN) submitted its report to the President. Nigerians are yet to hear of any plan of implementation.

To add to all these, Jonathan on Wednesday received the report of the Senator Femi Okurounmu-led Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Dialogue saddled with the responsibility of designing a framework for the conference. The report which he aptly described as “frightening” came in 16 volumes totalling about 4,000 pages.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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